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Glenn Cundari, the founder of Coach+, is on a mission to transform coaches into leaders. His company focuses on working with coaches at the college, university, provincial, and national levels, helping them with the things that keep them up at night, such as conflict management, athlete development, and working with assistant coaches.
Coach+ supports coaches of multiple sports and their goal is to strengthen different organizations’ roster of coaches. As Cundari explains, “It’s a broad assortment of things that I'd say more or less fall under this leadership bucket. It’s kind of a trendy word, but at the end of the day, it is all about leadership. The things that we'll work on is coaching as a leader rather than as a coach.”
Cundari’s was born and raised in North Bay and his passion for coaching started at a young age, as he began volunteering in the community before coaching full-time with Golf Canada. He quickly realized that coaches often feel like they're on islands and don't have anyone to talk to. He also discovered that associations and clubs often don't do a great job of onboarding coaches, leaving them to figure things out on their own.
It was this realization that led the Canadore College alumni to create Coach+. He wanted to give coaches the support they needed to be successful in their roles. Cundari notes that “Coaches need coaches, and we’re trying to bring that more to the forefront.”
Coach+ takes a personalized approach to coaching. They work one-on-one with coaches, allowing them to create their own growth map. Cundari explains “All the work we do is one-on-one. We don't do group training. Right now we have about 100 coaches in our kind of world. And each one of those is onboarded individually going through a reflection process. Each one has their own growth map.”
The focus of Coach+ is supporting and developing coaches rather than telling them what to do. Cundari explains, “We stand side by side. When they ask the question, we turn it back and say, ‘If you were coaching me, what would you tell me to do in this situation?’”
Coach+ takes a unique approach to coaching, using the word "nudge" a lot. Cundari says, “We poke and prod, and we use the word nudge a lot because they understand that it takes their athletes a long time to get good at something. And the reality is, it takes coaches a long time too, to get good at something.”
Cundari’s experience as a coach has been far-reaching. He has coached with Special Olympics and Golf Canada and has worked with coaches in a variety of sports. His experience has given him a unique perspective on coaching and leadership.
When asked about his work with Special Olympics, Cundari says, “The experience of working with Special Olympics athletes is that coaching becomes less about the sport and more about the person. You learn that what motivates one athlete may not motivate another, and you must be able to adapt your coaching style to fit each athlete.”
Cundari’s work with Golf Canada has also given him valuable insights into coaching and leadership. He says, “Golf Canada is a very high-performance organization. The players and coaches are some of the best in the world, and there is a lot of pressure to perform at a high level. It’s an environment where you have to be able to manage your emotions and stay focused on the task at hand.”
Cundari's dedication to coaching has not gone unnoticed. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his work, including the 2016 PGA of Canada National Coach of the Year award. But for Cundari, the real reward is seeing his athletes and coaches succeed. "There's nothing more satisfying than seeing someone achieve their goals," he says. "Whether it's a coach who has improved their leadership skills or an athlete who has won a medal, it's an amazing feeling to know that you've played a role in their success."
Cundari’s experiences have helped shape his approach to coaching and leadership. He understands that coaching is about more than just the sport. He says, "It’s about developing the person and helping them become a better leader.
The feedback from coaches who have gone through the Coach+ program has been overwhelmingly positive. Cundari says “In adult learning environments, it's not for us to tell them what they need to be better at. So, the way we onboard them and the reflection and stuff that we do with them is, in any coach training, you and your job, right now, what do you need to do your job right? You could list five things that you would like to be better at. So, we say, ‘OK, let's go.’”
Cundari’s passion for coaching and leadership has led him to create a unique approach to coaching that focuses on developing coaches as leaders. His work with Coach+ has helped transform the coaching industry, giving coaches the support they need to be successful in their roles. As Cundari notes, “Coaches need coaches, and that's what we're here to do.”
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